Recipe: cheese toastie with Maroilles

I don’t know if it was because I’d just seen Nigella make a brie, parma ham and fig toastie on her latest TV show or just the fact that I am perpetually in the mood for a cheese toastie, but as it happens two weekends ago, I knew just how I would use the Maroilles cheese a French colleague had given me the same week. In return he got a nice piece of Swedish Herrgård cheese, matured for 18 months. But back to the Maroilles.

When talking to French people, food as a conversation topic is never far away. And that’s how I found out that this Maroilles cheese, from the area of Picardy, is both delicious and probably the smelliest cheese in the world. To me that’s more intriguing than off-putting and I was super excited when I tried it. Similar to Reblochon, it’s a washed rind cheese with a lot of flavour, but it’s much creamier, and dare I say, delicious.

This cheese toastie is utterly simple to make, but very rewarding when you bite into the crisp bread with melted cheese oozing out on the sides.

Maroilles cheese toastie, per toastie

2 slices Poilâne bread

salted butter

2 thick slices of Maroilles cheese

Butter the two Poilane slices on one side. Place the cheese on one of the buttered surfaces and spread them it out so it covers the whole bread slice. Place the other slice of bread on top, buttered side down (i.e. touching the cheese). Press the sandwich together. 

Now, melt a generous knob of butter in a frying pan on medium-high heat (3-4 out of 6) and place the sandwich in the pan. You don’t want the butter to burn so if unsure lower the heat. You want the sandwich to be golden on both sides and the cheese to melt inside so it takes a few minutes on each side.

Fry until golden brown on one side, pressing down with a spatula. Turn the sandwich and fry the other side. Once crisp and golden and the cheese has started to ooze out on the sides remove from pan and place on kitchen roll to remove excess butter. Pat the top of the sandwich with kitchen roll too, then cut into half and serve. Yu-um. 

PS. This is what I love the most about food; it brings people together. My colleague thought the Herrgård was a nice addition to his cheese board, with otherwise only French cheeses I presume, and I got to try a cheese I had never heard of until he boasted about the best produce from his region in France. Merci!

Fried Brussel sprouts with shallots

I never liked steamed Brussel sprouts as a child because of the strong cabbage smell that comes with them, and I’m not too fond of the smell as a grow up either. But fried in plenty of butter (it really is the answer to anything) and served with sweet shallots (or fried bacon) the sprouts taste wonderful and you escape that awful smell. I actually think my younger self would have liked this!

Fried Brussel sprouts with shallots, serves 3-4

500 g trimmed Brussel sprouts
1 echalion shallots, finely chopped
3 tbsp salted butter
Salt, pepper

Wash and trim the sprouts and cook until soft in salted water. Drain. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add the shallots. Fry slowly on low/medium heat until golden brown. Add the rest of the butter and fry the shallots for a few minutes. Season.

Roasted beetroots with butter and grated horseradish


Roasted beetroots may not sound too exciting, but trust me, these ones which were roasted with plenty of butter and served with grated fresh horseradish are delicious! Another veggie dish for Christmas, perhaps?!

Roasted beetroots with butter and grated horseradish, serves 4

750 g fresh beetroots

1 small splash mild oil

3 tbsp salted butter

grated fresh horseradish

salt, pepper

Use plastic gloves to avoid red hands. Peel the beetroots with a potato peeler and cut in half. Add some oil to an roasting dish and add the beetroots. Add a tbsp butter and season. Roast in 180C oven until soft, for approx 40 minutes.Turn them once in a while and add another tbsp butter halfway through cooking. Once soft, remove from the oven and toss them in some more butter. Add grated horseradish and serve.